Castle in Portofino
Castello Brown, previously known as the Castle of San Giorgio, stands as an ancient military stronghold strategically perched in an elevated location that commands the quaint town of Portofino. This castle is enveloped by a Mediterranean garden adorned with cypress trees, blossoms, and pergolas. Reaching the castle requires a modest ascent, yet the journey offers picturesque surroundings that will keep you engaged. The spectacular view of the Marina di Portofino and the town itself, coupled with the breathtaking panorama, makes the effort truly worthwhile.
History of Castello Brown
During excavations within the area, remnants of an ancient Roman watchtower from the 3rd century AD were discovered at the site where the present-day castle now stands.
Official records about the current structure trace back to 1425, when Tomaso Fregoso, the Doge of the Republic of Genoa, took control of the village of Portofino.
In the 16th century, a series of restoration and expansion projects were undertaken. Between 1554 and 1557, the castle was expanded with a new platform extending toward the port, following the designs of engineer Giovanni Maria Olgiati.
In 1624, further works bolstered the castle’s defenses, and in 1728, additional modifications were carried out to enhance the armament and interior layout of the fortress.
The castle came under French control in 1797 when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Liguria. Following Napoleon’s departure and Portofino’s inclusion in the Kingdom of Sardinia and later the Kingdom of Italy, the military fortress was gradually disarmed starting from 1867.
In that same year, the castle was purchased by the United Kingdom’s consul in Genoa, Sir Montague Yeats Brown. Subsequent extension works, entrusted to architect Alfredo d’Andrade, led to alterations of the original structure. Since 1961, ownership of the castle has rested with the Municipality of Portofino, which undertook extensive restoration efforts. Presently, the castle serves as a venue for cultural exhibitions and events.
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